Kids Global Network

Exceptional Voices

A collaboration between KIDS Global Network, the Evanston Township High School Students Without Borders Club and the Evanston Public Library, Exceptional Voices is a workshop taught using PhotoVoice, a technique for storytelling and education through photography. As part of the project, students learned visual literacy, photography techniques and how to edit photos. The project culminated in an exhibition starting Tuesday, January 9, 2018 at the Evanston Public Library downtown branch (1703 Orrington Ave).



KIDS/REFORMA Collaboration 2016

In May of 2016 KIDS Global Network began working with the REFORMA Children in Crisis project. REFORMA is The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking. The Children in Crisis Project came about in 2014 because of the high numbers of unaccompanied youth entering the USA and being held in detention centers and shelters.


Oralia Garza de Cortes, a librarian from Austin, Texas was concerned when she saw news footage of this epidemic of children coming into the US. These children were being housed in detention centers and shelters without any access to books or activities. Partnering with Patrick Sullivan, a retired librarian from San Diego State University, they founded the Children in Crisis project to address the needs of these youth.

Since 2015 the organization has made great strides in reaching these children. The goal of the project has been to make sure that each child receives a book while in detention and can take it on their journey forward. Another goal is to fill the shelters with library carts full of books.

Currently, the Children in Crisis project serves up to 700 youth every two months as they enter the US and wait for immigration processing. In Southern California they work with shelters run by Southwest Key and Crittenton charities. The San Diego and Orange County librarians bring Spanish language books to the shelters as well as host the youth for story times and tours in their library facilties. It is important for them to teach the children about the resources and value of the libraries so they can continue to use them when they are settled.

KGN is traveling to Orlando for the American Library Association Conference in June of 2016 to stage an exhibit about the REFORMA volunteers. Our goal is to raise awareness about this issue and to help them raise money for books. Please visit our donation page to learn how your donation may be used.

Please visit the REFORMA Children In Crisis Project

KIDS in Chicago

KIDS Global Network, Inc. has joined forces with the Chicago Literacy Alliance, a group of 30 Chicago-based literacy organizations, to target Cameron School in Humboldt Park. The alliance is working with students across all grade levels to provide literacy assistance in many forms. Cameron School is a K-8 Chicago Public School with 885 students of which 98% are low income.


KIDS Global Network funded a "Family Portrait Project" that engaged 90 – 7th grade students in the spring of 2012. Working with 826Chi, a Chicago non-profit group focusing on teaching writing skills, students learned valuable interviewing and writing skills and learned how to create self-portraits. Each student interviewed family members; based on these interviews they created family stories, which served as the basis of the project. The teaching artist worked with students to develop self-portraits. These activities culminated in a presentation at the "Family Literacy Night" on May 16, 2012. Then, a group of the portraits and stories were displayed at Daley Public Library in Chicago for the majority of the summer.

KIDS also partnered with "Girls in the Game", ", a local after school program focusing on girl's fitness. Together, we provided after school activities for girls in 3rd to 5th grades. Coaches worked with 25 girls one day weekly to provide instruction in sports including soccer, flag football, yoga, softball, track and field and basketball. Instruction in the value of sportsmanship and nutrition was a key component of the programming.

KIDS matched the grant provided by "Girls in the Game" to provide for 10 weeks of activities for this program last spring. In the summer we provided scholarships so that 10 girls could attend the five-week "Girls in the Game" camp at Union Park.

We've been approached this year by Cameron School to provide the "Family Portrait Project" again as it was received very well by students, teachers, administrators and parents.

This year we'd like to add a photography component to the program so that students can take family portraits with cameras we provide for them.



Connecting Continents

"Connecting Continents" is a project that aims to bring students from two elementary schools together in the United States and South Africa. 5th grade students at Oakton Elementary School in the Chicago area are corresponding with children of the same age at Manyeleti Primary School in Gothenburg, Mpumalanga, South Africa. Through shared journals, letters, photos and video, these students are learning about the lives and culture of their pen pals.


The pen pal relationship was initiated by Student Movement for Real Change, Inc., a non-profit organization committed to serving the Manyeleti region in the Mpumalanga province in northeastern South Africa. Through SMRC, students at Northwestern University have regularly visited the classrooms at Oakton School. Lauren Johnston, a Northwestern women's soccer goalee, has led this effort at Oakton. They work with the students doing writing, geography, music and cultural activities.

We have engaged Chicago photographer Jon Lowenstein and journalist Jeff Kelly Lowenstein to document this pen pal exchange. They travelled to the Gothenburg village in South Africa in September 2007 to photograph, interview, record sound and gather information about the daily life of the students, teachers and families of the students at Manyeleti Primary School. They will also photograph and document the lives of the students at Oakton Elementary School in the Chicago area.

In an effort to increase awareness of the children's circumstances in South Africa and to raise funds, we intend to stage a photo exhibition in Chicago which will include photographs, shared journals, letters, sound and video. An opening night fundraiser will be held which will include a "soccer ball" auction where artists from the area will create and donate decorated soccer balls. This will take place in the spring of 2008. Net proceeds from the exhibition and fundraiser will be used to build a library collection and to build additional classrooms to relieve overcrowding at Manyeleti Primary. Additionally, funds will be used improve the soccer field and provide athletic equipment.

An additional component of this project will be to add an arts element. Michael Montenegro, an Evanston puppeteer and Idris Goodwin, a writer, poet and performance artist will work with the students at Oakton in a project which will incorporate a self portrait and shared values in our culture. The goal of this project is to illustrate the shared cultural values of Oakton students. Children will reflect on values presented in "The Cougar Promise". Every student learns the promise at kindergarten and it is recited by all students everyday at the school.

Idris Goodwin, will work with the students to focus on the values of the promise. They will weave these ideas into text which will be performed by the students with musical accompaniment. Michel Montenegro will work with the students to create collages that mirror themselves in an exercise of self portrait. Before the collages are glued down, the students will be involved in a photography project to animate the collages for a video. The video will be shared with the children in South Africa.

If funding comes available, we would like to provide this same arts experience for the children at Manyeleti Primary School in South Africa.

It is our goal through this exchange that both populations of students will grow and become more aware of our global community.


Idris Goodwin
Jeff Kelly Lowenstein
Jon Lowenstein
Michael Montenegro
Hilary Wallis